Reviewing a game isn’t usually a challenging endeavor. After playing through it you need to form an opinion and tell potential buyers whether they should sink their hard-earned money and valuable time into the game. However, when the impression the game leaves you with is so divisive, such as the case with the visual novel MYTH, I am still left bewildered as to whether the game is actually good or not.
I entered the world of MYTH expecting a game that would rival the plot of Higurashi, with a deep emphasis on mystery and paranoia. However, this misconception was quickly put to rest, with its bizarre tale filled with horrible pacing that left me scratching my head.
Meito lives in a hyper-rational world, a place where people go at their daily lives without questioning a single thing. The transparent nature of this world is emphasized by the fact that none of its citizens cast shadows. Things change for our protagonist when he encounters a mysterious girl who has a shadow of her very own. After hearing a voice which beckons him to enter a portal, he follows the girl and ends up in the world of shadows, called MYTH, a seemingly normal place inhabited by mysterious shadows who act like people.
Every girl you meet has her own shtick. Shimon is the happy-go-lucky type. Riri is kindhearted, while Sou is bratty and loves to get into arguments with Meito over absolutely anything. Thankfully, things start to fall into place later on and each character is actually far deeper than you might initially expect.
MYTH is clearly inspired by the poplar Higurashi series of games. The dichotomy between a seemingly radiant carefree world, with something disturbing seeping through the cracks makes for a much more horrifying experience than it would otherwise be. Initially each day within MYTH is broken up by a day within Asguard, a mysterious and heartless mirror world. It is here where readers get a taste for the game’s horror. The gut wrenching descriptions made me feel sick more than once. It’s one thing to show terrifying scenes of cannibalism and totally another to read about them, leaving the rest to your imagination.
MYTH has to have the most bizarre storytelling I have ever encountered in a game and I am not entirely sure if it’s awful or absolute genius. The game borrows elements and motives from both Higurashi and Umineko, but unlike those two masterpieces it is frequently unsure as what it wants to be. The game jumps from its out of place comedy, to drama, to horror, to detective mystery, to finally its meta narrative, with stories within stories. It’s ridiculous to see the game hop from a buffalo hunting comedy scene to Noire-style cyberpunk detective mystery in the blink of an eye.
Because of all of this, the pacing is rather erratic. Even when the game ultimately reveals some of its mysteries, you are frequently left with even more questions while these very plot threads are left on hold, some for several hours. Despite saying all this, the game has a very unique story, one that touches quite a few interesting topics throughout its run time. Not wanting to spoil things too much, it has twists and turns that you likely won’t see coming.
The overall presentation is decent. The character designs look good enough and the backgrounds aren’t too shabby either. However, the game never manages to break free from that amateurish look it has. Its atrociously colored menus and text boxes look like they were made by a kindergartner. The game tries to spruce things up by offering a different text box and menu style within each world, but it just makes things worse and even more inconsistent.
The game also has no character voices. And while the lack of voice acting would generally be a minus, much of MYTH’s atmosphere comes from the readers’ imagination. Unfortunately, the writing is sub-par for the course, however I am still unsure as if it was intentional or not.
There are two versions of the game available, the all-ages on Steam and the adult on the MangaGamer website. Still, you can easily patch the Steam version to remove the censorship if you want. With that said, the adult content in this game is rather poor, most of it being quite short and not really titillating.
Saying that MYTH is not for everyone would be a vast understatement. Its wonky pacing and absolutely unnerving scenes make this a game only few will stomach and even less enjoy. With all that said, MYTH can be alluring at times and the way it plays with the readers’ expectations is something rarely found in games. If you are looking for a one of a kind visual novel, MYTH might be just the thing you were searching for.